Washingtonblade.com, Volume 52, Issue 32, August 06, 2021

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Edison Richard Wato, Jr. October 29, 1961-July 27, 2021

Edison Richard Wato Jr., age 59, a resident of the District of Columbia, passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. He was born October 29, 1961, at the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, NC to MGySgt Edison R. Wato Sr., USMC (Ret), and Lilly Epaloose Wato. Being a military family, moving around every three or so years was the norm, but Edison and his sister Sharri would not have had it any other way. In true military fashion, the family moved from Santa Ana, CA, to Marine Corps Air Station aneohe ay, I, and finally to the ew iver ir Station in Jacksonville, NC. Both believed that this experience during their childhood helped them learn about service, sacrifice, and leadership at an early age. Being a descendent of the Zuni Pueblo Tribe of Zuni, New Mexico, Edison was very proud of his Native American Heritage. Before grade school, with his father deployed to Vietnam, his mother would move back to the Zuni reservation to be near her family and to expose her children to the wonderful Zuni way of life. She taught Edison and Sharri to speak their native language, a skill he wished he had kept up with as he grew older. As a child, he would spend summers visiting his grandparents in New Mexico. Even at a young age, he wasn’t afraid to be away from home. His grandfather Ken would take him to work at his store called Eat & Go. He cherished those memories and was grateful that his mother exposed him to Zuni culture. After graduating from Lejeune High School in 1979, Edison attended the University of New Mexico. At the age of 24, he moved back to the East coast before making his home in Washington, DC to work at the Smithsonian Institution. While there, he was instrumental in opening the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Edison embraced the diversity of DC. He loved city life and truly enjoyed the exhibits, museums, restaurants, touring the vineyard, and being part of the historical events surrounding the nation’s capital. His hobbies included skiing, hiking, bike riding, and the beach; however, he was just as content spending quiet time home. Edison was dedicated to social justice throughout his career as a fundraiser. He also volunteered with The Trevor Project where he helped to raise money for at risk LGTBQ youth. While hospitalized, never one to focus on himself, he would often ask his nurses to see if his sister, Sharri, needed anything. Always being the caring big brother, Edison would remind her to order her meals, telling her to drive straight back to his condo – “no stopping along the way” -- and texting her to make sure she made it back safely. His faith in God and his strong-willed personality kept him going through the difficult times. dison will forever be remembered for his devotion to his friends and family, integrity, and quick wit. His greatest joys included time spent visiting family, quiet dinners with close friends, reading voraciously, and traveling to new places. Edison was preceded in death by his parents, paternal grandparents Ken Wato and Blanche Watacelu, and his maternal grandparents Bert and Sadie Epaloose. He is survived by his sister, Sharri Wato Lanier, and her husband, Jamie Karol Lanier of Jacksonville, NC; two nephews, Jamie Ryan and Michael Ward Lanier of Jacksonville, NC; and several aunts and cousins. Our beloved “Eddie” is in heaven pain-free and with his loved ones. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends from all over the world. Burial will be Friday morning, August 6, 2021, at the Andrew Othole Cemetery in Zuni, New Mexico. A celebration of life is being planned in Washington, DC, and will be announced on acebook. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to he Trevor Project.

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ome D.C. gay bars re uiring proof of C ID vaccination ction prompted by mayor s order reinstating masks indoors By LOU CHIBBARO JR.

t least si D.C. gay bars announced last week on social media that they will re uire patrons to show proof that they have been vaccinated for C ID-1 as a condition for being admitted to the bars. hey include the Logan Circle area gay bars umber ine and rade, which are operated by the same co-owners the dams organ gay sports bars itchers and League of er wn, which are also operated by the same owner and share the same building the 1 th treet, .W. gay bar .s and the treet, .W. gay bar he Dirty oose. he si bars, which also offer dining service, announced their proof of vaccination re uirement shortly after D.C. ayor uriel owser on hursday, uly , issued a new order reinstating the city s re uirement that facial masks be worn inside all businesses and other public establishments. he mayor s order applies to all vaccinated and unvaccinated people over the age of two. It took effect at a.m. aturday, uly 1. t a uly news conference, owser pointed to a new . . Centers for Disease Control and revention guidance issued two days earlier recommending that fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in places where transmission of the coronavirus is considered substantial” or high.” he mayor said that, at the advice of her public health e perts, she decided to issue the new order to help curtail the rising number of C ID cases in D.C. over the past month or more due to the rapid spread of the virus s Delta variant, which is surging throughout the nation. Like other parts of the country, owser and D.C. Department of ealth Director Dr. La uandra esbit said people who are unvaccinated in D.C. make up nearly all of the newly infected cases. I know D.C. residents have been very closely following the public health guidelines, and they will embrace this,” owser said in referring to the new mask re uirement. he four-page order released by the mayor s office, similar to the city s earlier mask re uirements, allows indoor patrons of restaurants and bars to remove their masks while actively” eating or drinking. ut some representatives of restaurants and bars have pointed out that other urisdictions, including aryland and irginia, have followed the CDC s initial policy of making mask wearing a recommendation rather than a re uirement. ayor owser s announcement that nightlife hospitality patrons must wear a mask indoors when not actively eating or drinking renders the reinstated mandate essentially unenforceable and results in the rule being reduced to a largely theatrical re uirement,” said ark Lee, director of the D.C. ightlife Council, a local trade association representing bars, restaurants,

nightclubs, and other nightlife related businesses. he greatest disappointment for many venue operators and staff, however, is that the mayor s decision does not allow an option for establishments to admit only fully vaccinated patrons and be e empt from the mandate, as a number of other urisdictions across the country have done,” Lee said. ohn uggenmos, co-owner of the bars rade and umber ine, told the Washington lade he and his co-owners adopted the proof of vaccination policy as an added means of protecting the safety of both patrons and employees of the two bars. We re hopeful that this will be in effect for ust a few weeks or a month or two,” uggenmos said. ur patrons have always been very supportive,” he said in referring to the city s public health directives last year and early this year in which masks were re uired up until ay of this year. uggenmos said rade and umber ine would allow an alternative to the vaccination re uirement if patrons provide proof of a negative C ID-1 test conducted within the previous three days of their admission to the bars. In its social media postings, itchers and League of er wn said their proof of vaccination re uirement was based on the concern for the health of their patrons and staff. We will re uire proof of a C ID vaccination until further notice at itchers L and masks per the mayor,” a acebook posting says. We take guidelines and the health of our patrons and staff very seriously. We will accept a picture or hard copy of your C ID vaccination card,” it says. o e ceptions, no arguing, no talking to the manager.” ammy ruong, owner of the gay bar proar Lounge at lorida ve., .W., told the lade the bar has no immediate plans to re uire proof of vaccination as a re uirement for admission, but proar will fully comply with the mayor s order re uiring indoor masks. ustin arker, co-owner of the nearby gay bar he Dirty oose at 1 t., .W., told the lade he and his staff decided on uly 0 to also put in place a re uirement that patrons show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative C ID-1 test within the past five days. e said a five-day window for the C ID test, which the CDC allows in some cases, was chosen rather than a threeday re uirement to accommodate people who may not be able to get tested during weekends. wners of other D.C. ueer bars couldn t immediately be reached. ut the lade could not find any announcements by the other bars as of riday afternoon that they planned to put in place a proof of vaccination re uirement.

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LULAC Lambda announces 2021 scholarship awards

The D.C.-based LGBTQ Latinx organization LULAC Lambda has announced it has selected two D.C. residents bound for graduate studies in foreign affairs and higher education to receive its 2021 annual scholarship award. “For a fourth year in a row, LULAC Lambda will provide scholarships to outstanding scholars who come from our LGBTQ+ Latinx community,” said Erik Rodriquez, the BRIAN CASTRO and VICTOR JAVIER RODRIGUEZ LULAC Lambda president, are this year’s LULAC award winners. in a statement released by the group. “Our scholarship program will help these scholars achieve their academic goals and reduce their student debt,” Rodriquez said. The statement says one of the two scholarship awards, for $1,000, will go to Brian Castro, who will begin studies for a master’s degree in the fall of 2021 at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. “The generous scholarship provided by LULAC Lambda will complement my studies by going directly into my tuition costs,” Castro said in the statement. “Though I have been a resident of Washington, D.C., working full-time at a leading public health consulting firm, I am grateful to have received the support from an organization that is also committed to social justice,” he said. The other scholarship, for $1,300, will go to Victor Javier Rodriguez for his doctoral work in education at Florida State University. The LULAC Lambda statement says Javier Rodriquez’s academic interest lies in “exploring the relationship between school communities and districts’ implementation of anti-racist practice and student success.” In his own words, Javier Rodriquez said, “A long-term career goal of mine is to affect change at the federal level through the United States Department of Education, in which I would work to address our nation’s education crisis by advocating for equitable policies and practices that improve the outcome for all our students, especially those who are most vulnerable.” LULAC Lambda says it was founded in October 2014 “to mobilize and strengthen the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities of Washington, D.C. through community and civic engagement.” It is one of 1,000 chapters across the country affiliated with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s largest and oldest Latinx volunteerbased civil rights organization, the group’s statement says. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Missing gay man found ‘alive and well’

D.C. police announced on Friday that Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, a 65-year-old gay man who police said was reported missing and last seen on July 14, has been located. But the announcement doesn’t provide information on where he was found or why he went missing. Friends who know Woods say he operated for many years an antique wood furniture restoration business in various locations in D.C. The most recent location of his RICHARD G. ‘RICK’ WOODS business, friends said, was in Georgetown a short distance from where police said he was last seen on the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. “MPD does not publicly disclose the circumstances surrounding a missing person and how they are found, however we do release their flyer as well as a notification when they are located,” said D.C. police spokesperson Brianna Burch. “Mr. Woods was found in good health,” Burch told the Blade. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

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Meet 4 candidates vying for 2 Rehoboth commissioner seats Clear pace heatre permit flap roils race By ESTHER FRANCES

Four candidates are competing for two seats for City Commissioner in the Aug. 14 City of Rehoboth Beach election. The Blade interviewed each; below are their remarks and a preview of the key issues in the race. Incumbent Richard Byrne

Byrne was elected a city commissioner in 2018, contributing to projects like the creation of Steve Elkins Way and adding city committees to improve Rehoboth. “It’s been just an honor to serve these past three years, very inspiring, challenging and a very productive time,” Byrne said. “I feel that I have the energy, I have the know-how and I certainly have the experience to continue in this role working on behalf of the residents, and our voters all across the city.” Byrne voted against reversing the approval for Clear Space Theatre’s site plan in June. The planning commission’s and inspectors’ effort RICHARD BYRNE toward its approval seemed neither arbitrary nor capricious, Byrne said. “I’ve also been one of many who is advocating the need for our city to in the future, employ the services of a professional urban planner to help us and guide our work as we go forward,” Byrne said. “This is my community. It’s my only community. My only home. I just love this community, and I care deeply about it.” Planning Commissioner Rachel Macha

Macha has been a member of the planning commission since 2019 and works through the comprehensive development plan alongside the other members and additionally reviews residential and commercial land use projects. Macha is also involved in the plant, shade, and tree commission that approves the removal of trees in order to preserve the canopy. She has worked on projects such as Rehoboth’s Main Street and a campaign called Respect Rehoboth, a way to enforce social distancing and mask mandates. “Rehoboth is a hidden gem, I mean it has ‘the nation’s summer capital’ as RACHEL MACHA its tagline. I think there are just a lot of people that have found this is kind of a slice of heaven,” Macha said. “I just have had a real love for Rehoboth all my life and my kids have now had that same love for it, and I just want that to continue for generations to come.” The reversed approval of Clear Space Theatre’s construction plan was disappointing, according to Macha. “There were some commissioners and the mayor that were undermining the hours and effort that the planning commission not once, but twice worked through,” Macha said. “I just think it was unfair, and also just disrespectful, frankly, to really call out the planning commission on not doing a thorough job.”

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UDC hit with anti-trans discrimination complaint University accused of misgendering student By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | lchibbaro@washblade.com

A female transgender student at the University of the District of Columbia on ug. filed a discrimination complaint against the university on grounds that it is violating the city’s Human Rights Act by continuing to use her legal name on school documents and class enrollment lists unless she obtains a legal name change. Emma R. Alexandra, 28, a part-time student who was admitted to UDC in April, states in her complaint EMMA ALEXANDRA accuses UDC of misgendering her and outing her to fellow students and faculty. filed with the D.C. ffice (Photo courtesy Alexandra) of Human Rights that she informed DC officials that she was not ready to immediately undertake a legal name change. She states in her complaint that she has repeatedly asked that her chosen name alone be used on all documents and student lists that can be viewed by fellow students and professors. She said she understands that her legal name may be needed for legal admissions and academic transcript related documents. But to her dismay, Alexandra told the Washington lade, DC officials put in place what they consider a compromise position that identifies her on all public university documents and student class lists by both her legal name and her chosen name. She said the university began and currently continues to identify her by her male legal name with her preferred name written next to her legal name inside parentheses in this way: Legal First Name (preferred name Emma); Legal last name (preferred name Alexandra). “This is an egregious solution,” Alexandra told UDC President Ronald Mason Jr. in a July 4 email. “This is the name that appears everywhere now,” she wrote Mason. “Most notable, it’s the name that was displayed to my fellow students and professor during the class I took this summer on Blackboard,” she said, which is an online site like Zoom on which UDC conducts classes. “This effectively outed me as trans to every other student and my professor,” she told Mason. “I assume the same will continue when I go to campus in the fall and get an ID. My ID will have this name and out me to everyone I show it to,” she wrote. “This is completely unacceptable, disrespectful and dangerous.” Alexandra said she currently works full time as a Web Application Architect for Bloomberg Industry Group as part of its News Engineering team. She said the company is fully accepting of her using her chosen name without obtaining a legal name change. She said she has enrolled at UDC to take courses she needs to qualify for applying to medical school to fulfill her dream of becoming a psychiatrist. nder longstanding procedures, the D.C. ffice of uman ights investigates discrimination complaints and usually calls on both parties to consider reaching a conciliation agreement over the complaint if possible. If conciliation cannot be reached, makes a determination of whether probable cause e ists that discrimination occurred in violation of D.C. law. If such a determination is made, the case is sent to the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, which conducts a trial-like hearing that includes testimony by witnesses before it issues a ruling on the case. In response to a question from the Blade about whether a refusal by a D.C. university to use a transgender person s chosen name violates the uman ights ct, Director onica alacio said cannot provide legal advice on such a uestion. ut in a statement to the Blade, Palacio said for educational institutions, the Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on 15 protected characteristics, including gender identity and expression. s regulations related to educational institutions prohibit creating a hostile environment which could include deliberately misgendering a student,” Palacio said. “If anyone believes the statute has been violated, they may file a complaint with ,” she said. investigations are confidential.” Alexandra said she had yet to receive a direct reply to her email message to Mason as of early this week. ut last week she was contacted by phone by an official from 1 2 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 06, 2 0 2 1 • LO CA L NE WS

the university s admissions office and from Dr. William Latham, DC s Chief tudent Development and uccess fficer on behalf of ason. According to Alexandra, the two explained that her legal name was needed on certain legal documents. She said Latham explained that a software system the university uses to manage student records known as the Banner system, doesn’t support preferred names and currently prevents the school from displaying only her preferred name. he officials said the university planned to upgrade to a newer version of anner in ctober and the new system may” support using preferred names, le andra said. verall, I thought this was a really ridiculous conversation where folks from DC tried to convince me that they are using my preferred name while also stating that they cannot use my preferred name as it should be used, mostly due to limitations of software,” Alexandra told the Blade. “I don’t think the Human Rights Act has an exception for software systems,” she said.

UDC is the subject of a discrimination complaint.

(Photo courtesy UDC)

The Blade contacted UDC President Mason by email on July 20, asking him to comment on Alexandra’s concerns and asking him what, if any, problems would be caused if the university used Alexandra’s chosen name rather than her legal name on the various public, external documents and lists in which her legal name is being used. In response to your uly 0 email, the ffice of the egistrar can enter the student s preferred name in Banner (via all access screen for faculty and staff awareness), however all official documents, such as the academic transcript, will re uire the use of the student s official legal name,” ason told the lade in a one-sentence response. is response didn t address the issue raised by DC official Latham in his phone conversation with Alexandra in which Latham said the Banner software system couldn’t currently identify Alexandra only by her chosen name. Mason also didn’t respond to the Blade’s question of why UDC could not adopt a policy like the D.C. Public Schools system, which accepts a request by transgender students to use their chosen name without having to obtain a legal name change. Alexandra, meanwhile, points out that UDC’s refusal so far to allow her chosen name alone to be used on all public university documents and student lists without her legal name being attached to it appears to be at odds with a May 4 open letter Mason released to the university community expressing strong support for using the appropriate pronouns for transgender and gender non-conforming students. “The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) strives to be an inclusive campus that supports and values all members of our community, including LGBTQIA+, nonbinary, intersex and gender non-conforming students,” Mason says in his letter. “Choosing to not use or ignore the pronouns someone has requested you to use implies that person shouldn’t and doesn’t exist and does not deserve respect,” Mason wrote in his letter. “Therefore, we encourage all faculty and staff to use pronouns in their email signatures as an act of solidarity and to foster a culture of respect for every Firebird,” he concludes in referring to the symbolic name used for members of the UDC community. UDC is governed by a 15-member independent Board of Trustees. Eleven of the members are appointed by the D.C. mayor and confirmed by the D.C. Council. hree are appointed by UDC alumni and one by students, according to information on the UDC website.

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Damning . .

report on Cuomo ensnares

C president

By CHRIS JOHNSON discloses his substantive engagement” with this survivor he damning report finding ew ork ov. ndrew Cuomo involved an investigation of her regarding allegations of racial violated the law by se ually harassing as many as 11 women discrimination by other employees.” on his staff has ensnared the president of the nations leading final conclusion was ultimately memoriali ed in a L advocacy group, lphonso David of the uman ights privileged and confidential memo drafted and retained by Campaign. counsels office,” David writes. fter initially being unable to lthough David insists the report does not indicate any find the file, the overnor s office re uested a copy of the wrongdoing on his behalf, the findings indicate after his tenure electronic memo from me which I provided as I am re uired as counselor to Cuomo, that he kept the personnel file for an to do as a former counsel but my copy was subse uently not employee within the office accusing the governor of se ual relied on because the office found the full official file.” misconduct, then assisted in efforts to leak that file to the ddressing the unpublished op-ed intended to discredit media in an attempt to discredit her. the survivor, David writes Cuomos office had reached out urther, the report finds David allegedly said he would help to many former employees re uesting that we sign a letter find individuals to sign their names to a draft op-ed that sought supporting the overnor and the office,” but he declined to to discredit the survivor, but went unpublished, although he sign the letter and it was never released.” wouldn t sign the document himself. lso, the report indicates peaking with the lade, David confirmed the survivor David was involved in the discussions about another staffer whom he knows is Lindsey oylan, a former senior staffer for secretly calling and recording a call between a former staffer Cuomo, who was among the first to accuse him of se ual and another survivor in a separate effort to smear her. misconduct in the workplace last year. he e plosive report from ew ork ttorney eneral eanwhile, the board of the uman ights Campaign has Letitia ames sent shockwaves when it came out uesday at shown no sign of turning on David. In fact, C announced it a time when the country is still grappling with the treatment renewed Davids contract on his two-year anniversary for five of women in the workplace after the e oo” movement, more years. prompting fellow Democrats including resident iden to organ Co , chair of the uman ights Campaign board of call on Cuomo to resign. Cuomo has denied the conclusions directors, and odie atterson, chair of the non-profit uman of the report and not given any indication he ll step down from ights Campaign oundation board of directors in a oint his position as governor. statement to the Washington lade affirmed both boards early a do en references are made in the report to David, have full confidence in lphonso David as president of the who prior to his tenure as president of the uman ights organi ation.” Campaign served as counsel for Cuomo. In fact, the report In recognition of his e traordinary leadership during came out on the two-year anniversary of Davids oining the e tremely challenging times, we were proud to e tend his uman ights Campaign after his time in public service for the contract to stay on in his role for five more years,” Co and tate of ew ork. atterson said. or the last two years he has been boldly ollowing the issuing of the report on uesday, David oined leading the organi ation as it works to achieve its mission the chorus of high-profile individuals calling on Cuomo to full e uality for all L people, in the midst of a global resign as governor. David tweeted, fter reading the s pandemic, a nationwide reckoning on racial ustice, and the devastating report that concluded ov. Cuomo engaged in a most important presidential election of our lifetimes.” pattern of se ual harassment, in violation of both federal and peaking with the lade, David also said he has no intention state law, he should resign.” he tweet, however, ignores his of stepping down from his position as president of the uman mentions in the findings or alleged participation in discrediting ights Campaign voluntarily. se ual harassment survivors. his is my lifes work,” David said. I ve been a civil rights Criticism of David emerged from both the right and left lawyer for 0 years. his is what I ve been doing, this is what I did in the aftermath of the report at a time when morale among in government. I wrote the marriage e uality law. I drafted the many in the L movement is low amid states advancing aid amily Leave Law, drafted the minimum wage law, drafted and enacting anti-transgender legislation and inaction on the regulations to prohibit discrimination against trans people. uality ct in Congress. his is my lifes work. o, I intend to continue the work that I ve he uman ights Campaign itself has had significant been doing because the work of marginali ed communities, turnover, including in the communications department. the work to actually represent marginali ed communities is too Last year, the organi ation laid off employees, citing the important.” coronavirus pandemic, at a time when the latest I 0 for Davids role in the report stems mostly from the situation with the organi ation revealed former president Chad riffin and oylan. ccording to the report, Cuomo commented on her David drew combined compensation of more than ,000 attractiveness, including comparing her to a former girlfriend in fiscal year 01 . rom anuary- ugust 01 , riffin earned physically touched her on various parts of her body, including 0, plus 1 , 1 in other compensation David earned her waist, legs, and back made inappropriate comments, , and ,01 in other compensation for the balance including saying to her once on a plane, words to the effect of, of that year after taking over the ob. let s play strip poker” and kissed her on the cheeks and, on David, responding to the report on Cuomo in an email to one occasion, on the lips. board members of the uman ights Campaign and in a fter oylan went public, the report says Cuomos aides phone interview late uesday with the Washington lade, is actively engaged in an effort to discredit her” as a survivor. standing firm in denying any wrongdoing. mong the efforts cited in the report are disseminating to In the email to board members, David said the findings are the press confidential internal documents that painted her beyond comprehension to me and they break my heart as a in a negative light and circulating among a group of current former employee,” referencing the tweet he made calling for and former ecutive Chamber employees although not Cuomo to resign but also addressing the sections pertaining ultimately publishing a proposed op-ed or letter disparaging to himself. David confirmed the accuracy of the email to the s. oylan that the overnor personally participated in lade. drafting.” aintaining he had no knowledge of the allegations of David is mentioned in the report both during his tenure harassment outlined in the report,” David said he informed as counsel to Cuomo and during his time as uman ights the board of ignorance on the issue earlier this year” and Campaign president. s part of a workplace conflict in 01 e cept for one person, he doesn t know any survivors noted in the report as unrelated to the se ual harassment but referenced in the report. urther, David said that one person otherwise not described, David in his capacity as counsel was never disclosed” any allegations of se ual misconduct. David 1 4 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 06, 2 0 2 1 • NAT I O NA L NE WS

ALPHONSO DAVID worked as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s counsel. (Blade file photo)

charged with managing the situation, the report says. oylan tendered her resignation from the governor s office. David, in his capacity as counsel, asked to create a file on oylan and added the incident to her personnel file, according to the report. fter oylan tweeted Cuomo is one of the biggest abusers of all time” a secretary of Cuomos, elissa De osa, reached out to David, who was serving as uman ights Campaign president, on Dec. for a re uest to see the full file” for oylan. David said another staffer would have the information in her possession and be able to provide the file. Days later, David sent files relating to his investigation into oylan shortly before her departure from the governor s office, the report says. David is uoted in the report as saying he kept a copy of oylans files because it may have been the only instance where he was actually involved in a counseling of an employee when he was in the ecutive Chamber.” It s not immediately clear whether David keeping a confidential personnel file of an employee after leaving the workplace violates any laws, nor whether that would contravene the code of ethics of the ew ork tate ar ssociation. he association didn t immediately respond Wednesday to a re uest for comment. he report, in a subse uent section, continues to address the personnel file from which Cuomos office distributed unflattering information about oylan, saying it came from counsels office,” suggesting the information, at the end of the day, didn t come from David. connection between David and oylan comes up again in the report in a discussion about a potential op-ed from Cuomos office that was intended to discredit oylan, but was never published. he report says David signaled he wouldn t be among the signatories of the letter, but would help gather signatures. ccording to a footnote in the report, De osa told other former staff members whom she had asked to sign the letter David said he would sign the letter if we need him.” David, commenting on the unpublished op-ed when speaking with the lade, said there were multiple iterations of the document in a draft form. lthough one version was focused on more positive aspects of the workplace under Cuomo, David said another was more focused on oylan and he wouldn t sign it. I wasn t willing to sign it because it included facts I couldn t verify,” David said. I was not aware of it. I wasn t personally involved and had no personal knowledge, so I refused to sign the letter and I think everybody else did.” David comes up in the report in the description of another survivor s account of Cuomos alleged se ual misconduct, identified in the report by her first name aitlin. fter coming forward with se ual misconduct allegations, aitlin says she suspected she would be smeared for going forward, the report says. rue to her predictions, Cuomo allegedly attempted to call her and surreptitiously record her, but nothing came of the effort, the report says. David and other Cuomo staffers were involved in the internal discussion of plans to call aitlin and secretly record her in an effort to defame her, according to the report. David, speaking with the lade, said he doesn t deny that aspect of the report, but his role in the conversation about aitlin was limited and pertained to his duties as counsel to Cuomo. In that instance, it was simply asking me, in my role as a former counsel what the law was, not the conte t,” David said.

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Peru activists concerned about new gov’t Activists in Peru have expressed concern over their country’s new government and whether it will actively oppose LGBTQ rights. President Pedro Castillo, a teacher from Cajamarca region of northern Peru who is a member of the leftist and socialist Free Peru party, in June narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori, his right-wing opponent who is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, in the second round of Peru’s presidential election. Castillo’s inauguration took place in Lima, the Peruvian capital, on July 28. he ssociated ress reported Castillo during his campaign expressed his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples, but stressed LGBTQ issues “are not a priority.” Castillo named Congressman Guido Bellido, an indigenous man who represents Cuzco, as his prime minister. Bellido in a 2019 Facebook post praised former Cuban resident idel Castro and specifically his 1 comments

arsh anti-L

in which he said “the (Cuban) revolution does not need hairdressers and work will make them men. The ‘new man’ cannot be a faggot. The socialist society cannot allow this type of degenerates.” edia reports indicate ellido in 0 0 made transphobic comments in response to gender-based coronavirus prevention measures that activists said discriminated against trans people. Bellido also reportedly said “the woman is so destructive and ruthless when it comes to mixing her grudges and selfishness” and I don t see any lesbian or gay (person) mobilizing” against it. “Violence is going to intensify every day if things continue as they are,” ellido said. Bellido has also been criticized for his previous comments in support of the Shining Path rebel group. “(Shining Path) has been the biggest violator of human rights in the history of Peru and it concerns me a lot,” Alberto de Belaúnde, an independent congressman from Lima who




(Screen capture public domain)

is openly gay, told the Blade on Monday as he discussed ellido s comments. It is not a good scenario for the human rights agenda in general and specifically for the L agenda.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

bill introduced in hana

bill that would criminali e L identity and allyship in hana was officially introduced in the country’s parliament on Monday. he roper uman e ual ights and hanaian amily alues ill” went to the Constitution and Legal ffairs Committee after its first reading. Eight conservative lawmakers who are from the opposition and ruling parties sponsored the bill. homson euters oundation ews reports amuel artey eorge, a member of the ational Democratic Congress party, is the lead sponsor. he bill, if passed, would outlaw L identity and sub ect anyone who identifies as part of the L community or as an ally with up to 10 years in prison. draft of the bill that was leaked online last week listed some of the punishable offenses that include gross indecency,” which is defined as the public show of amorous relations between or among persons of the same sex.” This act, labeled a misdemeanor, can result in “a term of imprisonment no less than six months and not more than one year.” Activists in Ghana and across the world have sought to raise awareness of the bill on

social media with the hashtags ill he ill and hanaIs nough or s ll. Change. org petition that urges hanaian lawmakers to oppose the measure has been created. Critics say the measure would violate human rights and would make LGBTQ people more vulnerable to persecution and violence. The Coalition of Muslim Groups in Ghana and other religious organi ations have welcomed the bill, with homson euters reporting they say it is needed to “prevent the dilution of cultural values and beliefs in Ghanaian society.” aa eidu useini elpuo, the overlord of the Waala raditional rea, and other traditional leaders have condemned the LGBTQ+ community as “unnatural and perverted .” elpuo has also banned activities between L individuals in the Waala raditional rea and warned of firm and swift” punishment if found engaging in such acts,” according to the hana roadcasting Corporation. he bill s introduction comes after the ay arrest of 1 activists and paralegals who attended a conference on how to advocate for LGBTQ rights. PRINCE CHINGARANDE


Tim Bennett Bennett worked as the director of marketing and advertising programs at Subaru of America for 15 years, including his help to hire lesbian former tennis champion artina avratilova. e has worked to benefit the L community through marketing. Bennett gained interest in working on city committees and offered his services wherever they were needed, he said. I decided to come in as someone with no political history here, unencumbered,” ennett told the lade. I ve had no history here, I m a new person, it s time for getting some fresh ideas and new voices into the city.” TIM BENNETT Bennett supports a full-time city planner position that would help in land redevelopment for the city, according to his website. Clear Space Theatre’s reversed approval was rushed and traffic, parking and the building si e were the main problems, said ennett. I think it s such sloppy government, and I think it s sad all around because if the plans e ist, we wouldn t even be having this conversation,” ennett said. I understand that there are going to be traffic problems, there are going to be parking problems. It needs to be mitigated, of course, and we just have to follow the rules and do the right thing.” Bennett attributes much of his passion to his time at Marietta College, a small school in Ohio. here was always this thing of being taught when you graduated to find a way to be of use and try to make things a little better than you found them, or in the importance of showing up,” ennett said. I ve always remembered that and I ve tried to always strive to do that with work. When you re involved in something or you take on a pro ect it s, Can I be of use, can I contribute something, and can I be of help ”

candidates vying for ehoboth commissioner

Former Commissioner Toni Sharp


Sharp served as a city commissioner from 01 to 01 and, in her tenure, Sharp worked to budget a communications position within the commission and helped launch a platform to receive feedback from the community. Sharp was involved in many other committees during her term and needed some time away, she said. I am reinvigorated, I have much more perspective and I think, it may happen this way for a lot of people, that when you step away from something, you really get a clarity of exactly what you want to do,” harp said. I know how to be a commissioner, I know how to get things done. And now it is just a matter of what are the most pressing things that I believe we need to get done here in

ehoboth.” Like many residents in ehoboth, harp wants to see Clear pace heatre have a place in the city, despite ehoboth s restrictions for parking. ow, what s the right process to get from point , which is where we are now, to point B, to keep moving forward to get a mutually agreeable situation?” Sharp asked her then fellow commissioners at an pril 01 hearing. Do we have to have a different discussion about parking in this particular area of town It feels like a different discussion.”



6925 Bl Blair i Rd NW NW, Washington DC 20015 202-465-4260 takomawellness.com @takomawellness AUG UST 0 6 , 2 0 2 1 • WA S H I N GTO N B L A D E.CO M • 1 7


is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com


is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

Lovitz for Pennsylvania state representative

Anti-vaxxers screw themselves and us

It’s an embarrassment of riches for residents of center city Philadelphia, which includes the “gayborhood,” as they prepare to vote for their next state representative. The post has been held by Rep. Brian Sims, who’s gay, since 2013. Sims is giving up the seat to run for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor. More on that later. Two out LGBTQ candidates are among those competing in the 182nd District’s Democratic primary to replace Sims — Jonathan Lovitz and Deja Alvarez. Lovitz, who’s gay, has served as senior vice president of the ational L Chamber of Commerce for five years. If elected, it would be the first time a seat held by an L state representative transitioned to another L official and he would be the first L ewish elected official in ennsylvania. Alvarez, who’s transgender, is director of community engagement at World Healthcare Infrastructures and serves as chair of the Philadelphia Police LGBT Liaison Committee. She would become the first out trans person to serve in the ennsylvania Legislature if elected. Both are excellent candidates who would make their own bit of history if elected, but Lovitz stands out as the strongest choice to replace Sims in the legislature, a change that local residents desperately need. To paraphrase Oprah in her famous endorsement of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton: Just because I am for Lovitz, doesn’t mean I am against Alvarez. I am acquainted with Lovitz and know him to be an ethical, smart, hard-working professional who is deeply dedicated to his work and to the residents of Philadelphia. He would make a fearless and tireless advocate for Philly and for equality issues in Harrisburg. At NGLCC, Lovitz has helped write and pass more than 25 state and local laws, including in Pennsylvania, extending economic opportunity to LGBTQ-owned businesses around the country. As the country struggles to emerge from pandemic restrictions, we need more legislators at all levels of government who understand the importance of small business. Lovitz has the experience in business and in his work on equality issues to deliver tangible results for Philadelphia. Contrast his record with that of Sims and it’s a no-brainer that the people of the 182nd District have nowhere to go but up. Sims has sponsored or introduced scores of bills in the past year, but only one has been enacted, according to BillTrack50. Sims has been criticized in the district for his endless media tour and social media self-promotion. He is more interested in thirst-trap selfies than in constituent service. e lacks the professionalism and temperament for elected office, favoring profane outbursts and uvenile insults over diplomatic compromise and legislative achievement. As Christopher Pinto wrote in the Philadelphia Gay News, “Almost a decade in the State House, and he has no legislative victories that he can claim as his own. He spent more time out of the district than inside it, flying from one speaking engagement to the ne t, while abusing his state issued travel budget and being shrouded in a lengthy ethics investigation.” Lovitz will not succumb to such vanities. He is a grounded professional who understands how to craft legislation and, more importantly, how to get it passed. He won’t alienate colleagues as Sims has done. On equality issues, Lovitz has worked on behalf of marginalized communities at NGLCC and last year he organized PhillyVoting.org, which works to boost turnout among Black and LGBTQ voters. “The ongoing violence against our communities, especially against our trans siblings, is a stunning reminder that our work together continues,” Lovitz wrote in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Gay News. “Once again the movement for long-overdue social change in America is being led by communities of color, especially right here in Philly,” he wrote. “And the LGBTQ community must continue to stand in solidarity with them.” Lovitz understands the moment. He has a passion for business and for helping entrepreneurs to succeed, something cities desperately need after more than 200,000 small businesses have shuttered due to COVID, according to the Wall Street Journal; more than 1,000 hilly businesses closed in ust the first five months of the pandemic, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Voters, donors, and our national advocacy organizations should support his bold campaign and help retain an out LGBTQ voice in Harrisburg while improving constituent service for residents of the district.

Some say that if the current Republican Party and today’s Fox News were around when vaccinations for smallpo and polio were developed, we would still be fighting those diseases. There have always been anti-vaxxers and you can read about them in The American Historian. The column suggests vaccine resistance over the years was rooted in social movements more than anti-vaccine movements. Yet government took control; an example being demanding all children get vaccinated in order to attend school. resident iden is finally moving in that direction, announcing a vaccine mandate for federal workers. The Washington Post in a column by Eli Rosenberg reported some unions object and want to bargain over it and one, The Federal Law Enforcement Association, attacked the mandate saying, “requiring vaccinations represents an infringement on ‘civil rights.’” Not taking the vaccine represents an infringement on my right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit happiness.’ Your members not taking the vaccine puts my life and other lives in danger. Get over yourselves and take the damn vaccine! roclaiming your individuality is fine if it doesn t threaten the lives of everyone around you. Anyone with COVID impacts everyone in the community. A person who gets ill when they could have prevented that with a safe, free vaccination, then passes it on to others, must be held responsible. Government should do more and follow our European allies and develop a national vaccine passport so responsible people can easily prove they have been vaccinated. In this way when businesses mandate vaccinations for their employees, and they are, people will have an easy way to prove their compliance. California and New York have begun to demand this of their employees. Bars and restaurants in San Francisco and some LGBTQ bars in D.C. now ask for proof of vaccination to enter. The same should happen everywhere and include sports venues, concert venues, airlines, and cruise ships. All should require proof of vaccination for entrance. If that doesn t happen we will find ourselves back to wearing masks and more. If you choose not to be vaccinated, then stay home. ll healthcare facilities doctors offices, urgent care facilities, and hospitals are beginning to demand employees be vaccinated. No one should have to be seen by a provider who could have COVID. Healthcare costs should not go up because some people think they have the right to not take a fully tested vaccine to prevent their own and other people’s illness. It’s time to throw out politicians like Ron DeSantis, the incredibly stupid governor of Florida, who believes it’s appropriate to force cruise ships to accept unvaccinated passengers. Countries around the world are now requiring visitors from the United States to show proof of vaccination to enter. This supports the need for President Biden to act now and have the government develop a national vaccine document. It’s not about politics, it’s not a Democratic or Republican thing; it is about protecting people’s health. If you continue to believe the virus is a ‘hoax’ or want to proclaim your individuality or ‘freedom,’ then you are a moron. Stay home and only associate with others who are as dumb as you are. If you get sick or die from what you believe is a ‘hoax’ don’t expect others to pay for your healthcare or show compassion. What the rest of us ask of you is simple: Don’t put our lives in danger because of your stupidity. Recently there has been a slight change in tone from Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity and Republican members of Congress like anti-LGBTQ Steve Scalise (R-La.) and ‘Moscow’ Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who are now suggesting vaccination. Apparently they woke up and realized it’s their own viewers and voters getting sick and dying after listening to months of their lies and stupidity. I am aware there are those who cannot yet get the vaccine — children under 12, those with certain health conditions, and those in poor countries who don’t have access to it. We must all do everything we can to make it available around the world for those who can take it. It is past time to tell all those who would put the rest of us at risk for serious illness and even death we will no longer cater to their shallowness. We will not be held hostage to a disease because they are either dumb, inconsiderate, or worse.

Accomplished gay candidate is longtime equality advocate

1 8 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 06, 2 0 2 1 • V I E WP O I NT

Get over yourselves and take the damn vaccine!

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(he/him/his) is a trans man and young professional in the D.C. area. e was featured on ational eographic s ender evolution in 01 as a student at ale niversity. Isaac is also on the board of the L Democrats of irginia. ind him on Instagram isaacamend.

Most people are transphobic Nearly half of Americans oppose inclusive military service

+ Largest LGBT owned title company + Billions of dollars in transactions closed annually + 6 in house attorneys + Residential and commercial transactions + In home and in office refinance settlements + Licensed in DC, DE, MD, NJ, VA & WV

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Most people are transphobic. Start with the fact that in 2020, 45 trans people were killed in the United States, most of them Black trans women. Worldwide, that number jumped to above 350 people. Seventy percent of Republican parents say they’d be unhappy if their child’s spouse identified as transgender. hat s a mild statistic, so let s ump to the fact that at least epublican state legislatures pushed bills this year that would ban trans athletes from competing in high school sports, and ban trans children from receiving medical care. But Republicans are the obvious culprits in American society’s hatred toward trans people. Let’s turn to the less obvious culprits. If you think Democrats were angels, think again. bout 0 percent of parents who identify as Democrats state they would be unhappy if their child’s spouse married a trans person. hat poll was conducted by I- tlantic in ebruary 01 , not 10 years ago, or five years ago, but ust two years ago. igrate to illary Clinton s offhanded remarks to ritain s he unday imes that for trans people, it s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.” ove on to corporate C s, mainly white guys with a lot of ambition and agendas to push. lon usk tweeted pronouns suck.” ven if there was not that much thought behind the tweet at best , usk still alienated all of the trans employees who actually work at esla or pace . nd, of course, how could I write a piece about transphobia without mentioning owling, who famously stuck up for Donald rump s bigoted policies tweet after tweet, only to essentially state that trans women are not real women, and outline five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism.” ake a look at corporate merica big companies, with billions in revenue and company outings to urope, love to post rainbow flags come une, but seemingly would never hire a trans woman in 1,000 years. If that trans woman doesn t pass well, you can forget about her ob prospects at a ortune 00 company. Certain statistics that are used to signal growing support for trans people, are actually quite dismal. Some like to tout the fact that 63 percent of the United States population wants trans people to serve in the military, as a positive statistic n the flip side, this still means that almost out of 10 mericans don t want trans people to serve in the armed forces, ust because of their gender orientation. hat s dangerously close to half of the merican population that would deny a well meaning soldier from potentially sacrificing their life to serve this country. Why would you ever not want someone to give their life for your homeland when you wouldn t give your life to begin with ut what is most shocking, is the seamlessness in which almost half of all mericans would be uncomfortable with their own child being trans. ccording to I, around percent of mericans would be uncomfortable” with their own child being trans. In the same poll, only 0 percent of Democrats would be somewhat or very comfortable” with their child being trans. his means that 0 percent of polled Democrats would be overtly uncomfortable with their own child living their truth. hen take a step back, and evaluate all of the day-to-day, uotidian occurrences that highlight how weird and transphobic the public is. I m talking about small gestures, like when your boss would rather have you not use pronouns in email correspondence to clients. r when hat uy ou Went o igh chool With ust loves tearing Caitlyn enner apart, uncontrollably, ferociously. r when your favorite buddy ust loves oe ogan, who happens to go on regular tirades against trans athletes in his podcast. r when you pray to od that a consulting firm you re applying to actually doesn t learn you are trans, so you can get the ob. r when you can t find a priest for your Indian wedding. I repeat most people are transphobic.

Everything you need to know about WorldPride 2021 Party in Scandinavia with the happiest people on Earth By MIKEY ROX

It’s been two years since Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019 became the largest international Pride celebration in history, but the “bye” year of 2020 wasn’t due to the pandemic. The global celebration has been held every odd-numbered year since 2017 given its massive logistical undertaking (with sporadic celebrations in 2006, 2012 and 2014 before then), and WorldPride Copenhagen – Malmö 2021 couldn’t have come at a better time. undreds of thousands of cooped-up ueer revelers and allies will flock to the twin host cities in Denmark and Sweden, respectively, from Aug. 12-22, to party with the happiest people on the planet, a delightful distinction provided to the Scandinavian countries by the United Nations’ famous World Happiness Report. (The United States ranked No. 19 in the most recent report, FYI.) o what s in store for this year s all-out progressive-flag-flying festival ead on for more.

Two LGBTQ anniversaries in Denmark If you can believe it, it’s been 70 years since Danish doctors in 1951 performed the world s first successful genital reconstruction surgery, a medical marvel that provided hope to transgender people the world over. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Gay Liberation Front’s Danish chapter, which has been instrumental in blazing trails toward equality for the country. Look how far it’s come. Opening ceremonies kick off in Copenhagen In con unction with Copenhagen ride, World ride will officially start late afternoon on Aug. 13, but in adherence with COVID-19 protocols the opening ceremony won’t be held in WorldPride Square (at least not as of press time; things could – and probably will – change). That potential snafu notwithstanding, Denmark welcomes vaccinated U.S. travelers, and if any testing is needed, both PCR and antigen tests will be available free to everyone, including tourists, 24/7. Copenhagen is OPENhagen again. WorldPride Square will be open for the rest of the fest WorldPride Square, a makeshift village of sorts (similar to the Olympics) located within Copenhagen’s main square, will provide a gathering place for all attendees that have traveled far and wide. LGBTQ+ and non-governmental organizations spanning the globe will set up shop in the square to greet pedestrians, provide information, and invite folks to get involved. Art exhibits also will be a centerpiece of the village, alongside a street-food market and bars with plenty of space to relax. EuroGames will be held simultaneously If you enjoy watching athletes compete in variety of sports that range from boxing and badminton to dancing and dodgeball, add the spectator-friendly EuroGames to your list of to-dos while you’re in Copenhagen. If you want to get hands-on, consider signing up to become a volunteer at the games, to be held Aug. 18-20; EuroGames’ website is currently accepting those applications. Spread out and explore other WorldPride villages While WorldPride Square will serve as the jump-off for the 10 days of festivities, other available villages will allow crowds to spread out and explore their individual interests. In addition to Sports Village for EuroGames athletes and fans, other villages will focus on kids and families, youth, women, and the queer community, among others. rograms and content of these villages will be target-audience specific but open to everyone. You might have a brush with royalty Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, is patron of Copenhagen 0 1, making her the first-ever royal to serve in the role for a ma or L event. Say hi if you spot her; she knows a queen when she sees one.

Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. This year’s WorldPride events take place in Scandinavia. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

Despite pandemic protocol, the show will go on rgani ers have said in an official statement that despite some C ID-1 restrictions, they’re “continuing to plan for full delivery of all Copenhagen 2021 events taking into account the guidance and recommendations” of government agencies. Doubling down, organizers have promised they will not cancel or postpone events. Now there’s only one thing left to do: Let’s go! (Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels)

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Please call for reservations 703-685-0555 2 2 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 06, 2 0 2 1

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Friday, August 06 Friday Tea Time and social for older LGBTQ adults will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. You are welcome to bring your own beverage. For access to the Zoom link, email: justin@thedccenter.org. “District 1st Friday: Leather & Lace Edition” will be at 10 p.m. at 13335 Green Court, N.W. Tickets are $5 and underwear attire is encouraged but not required. Also, all body types are welcome and celebrated. Visit GayMapper for more information.

Nat’l Cannabis Festival set for Aug. 28

and those who may be questioning their gender identity/expression to join in community and learn from one another. ll who identify under the trans umbrella or are unsure, and reinforce principles of respect, acceptance, and protection through ongoing input from attendees are welcome. “Coming Out Discussion Group” will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This peer-facilitated discussion group is a safe space to share experiences about coming out and discuss topics as it relates to doing so. To access the meeting’s Zoom link, email supportdesk thedccenter.org.

he ational Cannabis estival C will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a return to the Campus on aturday, ug. 28. The event will feature musical performances by hip-hop artists Method Man and Red Man, Young M.A, Backyard Band, Antibalas, he rchives, Lee, lackwood raham and D arrah losscett. In addition to the concert, the festival will include four educational pavilions Wellness, olicy, Culture, and the row chool, where attendees can participate in discussions on the medicinal benefits of cannabis, speak with medical professionals and dispensary owners, and focus their minds with free yoga sessions. NCF will also host a wide range of exhibitors offering the best cannabis accessories and lifestyle brands. “We are thrilled to bring the National Cannabis Festival back to D.C., the community, and fans who’ve been waiting since 2019 to celebrate in-person again,” said Caroline hillips, founder of the National Cannabis Festival, in a statement released last week. For more information regarding the festival, visit NCF’s website.

Saturday, August 07 Xavier Entertainment will host he fficial Leo Birthday Bash” at 11 p.m. at HardRock Cafe. There will be hot food made to order and bottle service available. isit ventbrite for more information. The LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. via oom. or more information and events for L eople of Color, visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Sunday, August 08 “Adams Morgan Drag Queen Storytime” will be at 11 a.m. at nity ark. he event is free and open to children of all ages (and suitable for the entire family . he goal of Drag ueen torytime is to inspire a love of reading, while teaching deeper lessons on diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others. s are re uired to attend the event. ore information is available on ventbrite. Idiom Brewing Co. will host “Drag Bingo” at 4 p.m. This event will feature live drag performances, cash prizes, craft beer and more. Tickets are $40 and 10 percent of bingo proceeds will be donated to he rederick Center for the benefit of supporting the L community. isit ventbrite for more information.

Monday, August 09 Naked Ecstatic Dance with Major at 9:30 p.m. at 3549 Devon Drive, Falls Church, Va. This event is clothing optional, body-positive, full of love, and ecstatic expression. Come bare your soul AND your inner animal during the tribal ourney. Allow this movement practice to be a meditation or a release. For more information, visit Eventbrite. The Center Aging Coffee Drop-in will be at 10 a.m. at the DC Center. L lder dults and friends are invited for friendly conversations and current issues that you might be dealing with. For more information visit Center Aging’s Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, August 10 “Trans Support Group” will be hosted on Zoom at 7 p.m. This event is intended to provide emotionally and physically safe space for transgender people

Crazy Aunt Helen’s hosts drag legend Sherry Vine A scene from the 2017 National Cannabis Festival. This year’s event is slated for Aug. 28. (Blade file photo o te

Wednesday, August 11 Join The DC Center for their virtual job club, a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking. The event begins on Zoom at 6 p.m. For more information, email careercenters@ thedccenter.org.

Thursday, August 12 #OFTNTHURSDAYS will be at 6 p.m. at The New lroy s ars on treet. he event is open to all to come enjoy great vibes, amazing music, good food, and meet new people within our community. isit ventbrite for more information. Tantric Connections and Authentic Relating Games and Connection Night will be at 7:30 p.m. oin a or om, oni ue, and eter for a night filled with authentic connections beginning with some authentic relating games and ending with a Tantra connection. All attendees will be required to provide a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test (24 hours). Visit Eventbrite for more information.

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Crazy Aunt Helen’s, which recently opened its doors on Barracks Row, will offer live entertainment in the restaurant

with drag legend herry ine. ine will host four shows over riday, ug. 1 and aturday, Aug. 14. Options include an earlier dinner and a show, and a second seating late show. tanding room tickets are also available for both shows. I m thrilled that herry ine is our first eadliner herry is fun and outrageous as well as a great talent … I knew that she would be able to set the bar for all the other entertainment to come,” said hane ayson, Cra y unt elen s owner. For more information, visit Crazy Aunt Helen’s website.

OutWrite Book Festival this weekend he 0 1 utWrite L ook estival, a celebration of ueer literature, will run virtually from riday, ug. to unday, Aug. 8. utWrite is the premier L literature festival in the D.C. area. This year’s festival showcases more than 80 authors and a full weekend featuring 25 readings, panels and workshops. All events are free and open to the public. The festival will begin with readers from the OutWrite 2021 journal “We Got This: Black Writers on Imagination, Joy and Liberation,” featuring C.L. rown, en amin reenwood, im eynolds, simiri prowal, and alik Welton. Those interested in volunteering with the festival can email outwritedc@gmail.com. Additionally, follow OutWrite on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

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ray way e poses horrors of conversion therapy

he fraud is still out there, actively claiming victims By EVAN CAPLAN

the scenes, as it aligns itself with politicians It s fitting that lumhouse roductions to gain the power necessary for turning should be among the array of associated its anti-L stance into legislative and companies behind the new documentary udicial policy. andy homas, the former ray way,” which debuted on etfli odus vice president who disassociated ug. . from the group shortly before it disbanded, ow a ma or ollywood player, relates how the movement allied itself with lumhouse roductions spent a decade conservative politicians eager to stir up building its success on creepy horror their constituents with a moral” issue and movies like aranormal ctivity,” PROFESSIONAL facilitated the passing of roposition , Insidious,” and he urge.” he horrors A scene from ‘Pray Away.’ ( a e o te et ) the California referendum that effectively revealed in ray way” are every bit as DIRECTORY banned same-se marriage before being disturbing as anything in those movies struck down by the upreme Court in 01 . he implication the difference is that these are horrors that take place in real life, that a well-organi ed minority can gain enough political traction and that makes them even more chilling. to impose its e treme views on a whole society is something s its title suggests, the ristine tolakis-directed documentary of which most viewers will already be keenly aware, given the dives into the world of conversion therapy,” specifically in the shape of the last few years, but it serves as an chilling reminder form of the Christian - ay” movement, and unspools its of the very real and widespread harm that has been perpetrated history from its beginnings in the 1 0s. hat was when five by fundamentalist bigots acting in the name of religion. men, struggling with being gay in their vangelical church, f course, ray way” is also a story of triumph the sub ects started a ible study to help each other leave the homose ual who share their stories are shown clearly to have moved beyond lifestyle.” hey uickly received more than ,000 letters from the lies of conversion therapy to live much happier, fulfilled people asking for help and formali ed as odus International, Cognitive-Behavioral lives one, ulie odgers, who was once groomed as the poster the largest and most controversial conversion therapy Therapy child for an odus-affiliated e -gay” ministry, is even in the organi ation in the world. fter decades of spreading antiResults-Oriented • Affordable process of planning a wedding with her girlfriend perhaps L propaganda and touting methods based on discredited Larry Cohen, LICSW the most appropriate happy ending” of all, considering the and pseudoscientific practices, the company was rocked when 33 years serving the LGBT community circumstances. a multitude of former success stories” began to come forward 202-244-0903 till, though, the dis uieting realities e posed by tolakis and renounce their claims of having become heterose ual. socialanxietyhelp.com documentary are never uite erased by these positive aced with public outcry and an inescapable recognition of the See website for NPR story on my work outcomes. utdated notions that are perennially used to se untold harm they had perpetrated, odus officially ended its shame ueer people and frame their identity as a dysfunction operations in 01 . the parents are to blame, masturbation is bad, gay people ray way” is not really about odus, though, nor is it about are child molesters, girls become lesbians through fear of scandal at least not the salacious kind. It s about the real human men, and other such infuriating tropes keep turning up in the pain underneath all of that, and it follows the stories of several discourse throughout a procession of pious, white male faces men and women who were once connected with odus. some belonging to disgraced former moral leaders” like erry nce among the leaders and high-profile representatives alwell decry homose uality as sinful in archival media clips of the organi ation, these are individuals who spent years as and in perhaps the most unsettling se uence, we see footage of Christian superstars” in the religious right before coming out a notorious reparative therapy” psychologist the late oseph as L and disavowing the very movement they helped to icolosi manipulating a patient or rather, a victim through start. hrough the stories they tell of their personal ourneys, and psychological torture. the resolve with which they dedicate themselves to debunking ost horrifying of all, perhaps, is another narrative that is the notion that being ueer is something that should or even woven among the others. he film begins with effrey cCall, a can be cured,” they underscore the depth of the influence that Christian activist who was once a transgender woman but claims conversion therapy and its proponents e erts not ust on its to have renounced his trans identity for esus. We watch as he participants but on L society as a whole. works to organi e a misleadingly named reedom arch” for here s ike ussee, one of the co-founders of odus, who e -trans” awareness, guides a mother over the phone toward ultimately became one of the first high-profile members to re ecting her child s trans identity, and participates in a ritualistic denounce the group and come out as gay ohn aulk, another warrior” chant with a group of other former trans people all former odus leader, who along with his e -lesbian” wife was without a trace of oy in his face, his voice, or his manner. the face of the movement through appearances on television It s that last se uence in which ray way” becomes most and maga ine covers until being caught in a gay bar and ADVERTISING PROOF reminiscent of one of lumhouse s horror films in the feverish, e posed in the press and vette Cantu, who became a highly 70414 SALES REPRESENTATIVE PHIL ROCKSTROH prockstroh@washblade.com histrionic abandonment to which they give themselves in their visible spokesperson for conversion therapy and even served as chant, these struggling people evoke the unnatural fervor of a a policy analyst” for the amily esearch Council a virulently W AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of possessed congregation at a cult. Watching the spectacle, it s anti-L organi ation that has been designated as a hate e of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts edia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is sible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can easy to see them as deluded and dehumani ed. ven so, one group by the outhern overty Law Center before crippling ough the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or any f third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any copyright, can t help but sense that the tears in their eyes are real they an iety forced her to confront her feelings of guilt over the harm trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair competition, ation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, or any other right draw our compassion, and they remind us that the fraud of ADVERTISER SIGNATURE she was helping to inflict. person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) and to own naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all liability, loss, damages, claims, By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the es of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred by brown naff pitts omnimedia conversion therapy is still out there, actively claiming victims. washington blade newspaper. interwoven This includes but is not limited to placement, hese narratives, throughout to form a bigger ng out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations and warranties. payment and insertion schedule. he evil of odus may have been van uished in ray way,” picture, bear witness to the personal damage caused by but like any good horror film, it makes sure we know there s still conversion therapy, but many of them also cast light on the even plenty of room for a se uel. more ominous nature of the movement s machinations behind 2 6 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 06, 2 0 2 1

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© The Princess Bride Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts in association with 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Warner/Chappell Music. © 2021 & TM LUCASFILM LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © DISNEY.

‘Blackest Battle’ an innovative hip-hop musical Replacing feuding Montagues and Capulets with rival rap groups By PATRICK FOLLIARD








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Young rapper Dream carries a dog-eared paperback copy of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” She’s an idealist and like the Bard’s star-crossed lovers, she’s willing to risk it all for true love. he lackest attle,” the final offering of Theater Alliance’s digital season, is a love story set against a gritty urban landscape. Penned by talented D.C. artist Psalmayene24 with music by nick tha 1da, the innovative hip-hop musical explores Out actor JADE JONES in Theater Alliance’s romance and grudges in a new way. ‘The Blackest Battle.’ (Photo courtesy Theater Alliance) Rather than the feuding Montagues and the Capulets in Renaissance Italy, playwright Psalmayene24 serves up rival rap groups set in a future New York City. The layered production is helmed by Theater Alliance’s out artistic director Raymond O. Caldwell who with the assistance of digital producer Kelly Colburn, deftly brings together the work of designers, graphic illustrators, animators, and an appealing cast of actors. The results are raw, witty, and affecting. The action is set in Chief County, an imagined all-Black enclave in New York City, where the N word has been replaced with Negus, the Ethiopian word for royalty. Unfortunately, a lot of what is bad today — gun violence and crime — remains the same. At the top of the show, we’re caught up on what’s in store for America. We can expect a lot of white nationalist terror and civil war followed by a neo-Reconstruction period with reparations for African Americans. Led by the Ringmaster (a vibrant Kelsey Delemar), we’re introduced to the future, Chief County, and some of its more musical residents. The storyline follows the fortunes of two warring rap factions, focusing on young lovers Bliss and Dream, played respectively by Gary Perkins and Imani Branch. The rap groups are Lock Crew whose hot new song “Rarris and PCP” is garnering some attention, and the more message-driven Key Enterprises. Lock Crew’s members include gun-slinging Sergeant Pepper (Bayou Elom), front man Ty (Emmanuel Kyei-Baffour) who wears a frumpy dress, and Bliss, the most sensible and goodhearted member of the trio. Enterprises is headed by straight edge leader Do Or Do (Louis Davis). He’s supported on stage by his younger sister, the appropriately named Dream, and D.J., Bonita, a lesbian with a drug habit played by out actor Jade Jones. Bonita’s high of choice is called “hope,” a mind opening amalgam of technological advancement and botanical evolution that’s taken aurally. Its dangers and benefits are debatable. Major beef develops when due to spotty Wi-Fi both groups are mistakenly booked to open for headliner Jay Adonis at the same big show at Zoom Arena. Rather than correct the problem himself, donis suggests the dueling artists fight it out. Dream and liss first meet at a rent party on the ourth of uly, a noisy and often violent holiday in Chief County. Despite being from enemy camps, the pair are drawn together instantly. The chemistry is palpable. Soon after meeting, they slip out to watch the fireworks at the pier, a significant spot with a history that harks back to the slave trade. he ingmaster comments that humans are hardwired to fall in love at first sight. ut it can t be with ust anyone. eferencing 0s sitcoms, she amusingly says eorge must find his Weezy, and Florida her James. Later that night Dream and Bliss seek refuge from the rain beneath a bridge poignantly graffitied with numerous names of victims of gun violence it s the same spot where their groups have chosen to rumble. This is also where the show’s sad but unsatisfying and abrupt ending plays out. Streaming through the end of August, “The Blackest Battle” screams plus ça change, the immutability of human nature, and does it in an entirely fresh and entertaining way.

‘The Blackest Battle’

Streaming through Aug. 29 | Theater Alliance | $30 | Theateralliance.com

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D.C. estaurant Week returns Celebrating a revitali ed dining scene after C By EVAN CAPLAN

ID closures

fter being confined to a to-go program for the last two iterations, Washington, D.C.s estaurant Week is back this summer to celebrate the revitali ed dining scene in the city. ummer estaurant Week 0 1, run by estaurant ssociation etropolitan Washington W , is scheduled to kick off onday, ug. , and last through unday, ug. 1 . he signature summer dining event returns to a oneweek promotion this year, though restaurants have the option of e tending their promotions. Diners can en oy three-course menus at a range of indoor outdoor comfort levels at more than 00 restaurants, ranging from fastcasual eateries to fine-dining destinations. In addition, the to-go family-style options that were introduced last year are not gone, however, as many restaurants will also offer this off-premise option. f course, many spots plan to include a cocktail pairing as well. Dinner is the main event for participating restaurants, with the classic three-course dinner priced at per person. everal restaurants with higher overall price points are also offering an elevated dinner with e clusive items. hree-course lunches run , and weekend brunch is also . inally, many restaurants will also offer W- o- o” dinner meals, available at two price points 0 or 1 0 for two people and 100 or 00 for four people. hese W- o- o dinner meal packages are available for takeout or delivery, and diners can order W- o- o either directly from the participating restaurant or check their delivery app for the offer. D.C. restaurants remain open at 100 percent capacity, but ayor owser last week reinstated mask mandates for indoor spaces. ew restaurants participating in ummer estaurant Week include ngolo, , lower Child, Le el, A sample of what’s available , lover ark rill, ypsy itchen, and ruluck s in from The DC Restaurant Group, D.C. and pice raft Indian istro in irginia. which owns spots like Shaw’s Tavern and 801 Restaurant. his year s ummer estaurant Week is not only Entrees include lobster and grits providing diners with great options at great prices and salmon over succotash. (Photo courtesy DC Restaurant Group) for dining out, but is also the first time all restaurants across our region are able to accommodate diners at full capacity both indoors and outdoors,” says athy ollinger, president and C of the estaurant ssociation etropolitan Washington. eing fully open is a step toward recovery for the industry and also toward a return to our dynamic local restaurants in their spaces which help to elevate the dining e perience.” W is the regional association representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the D.C. etropolitan rea. W also runs the s, the awards for the food and beverage industry. estaurant operators themselves reinforced how important the promotion is to them. estaurant Week is an opportunity for us to showcase our resilience and commitment to serving our staff and community,” says alwa Laaraichi of tation . or ric eidenberger, a partner at he DC estaurant roup, which owns spots like haw s avern and 01 estaurant, the past year has been a challenge. ut W, he says, has been very supportive to the D.C. restaurant community and a key a resource in helping us navigate the challenges of the pandemic. We re e cited to participate in the first normal” restaurant week in almost a year and a half. estaurant week is a great opportunity for us reach new diners and showcase new dishes to our regular repeat customers.” ll of gay-owned nead estaurant Design s locations are participating in estaurant Week. Co-owners ason erry said that he hopes that estaurant Week offers a way for diners to begin dipping their toe by taking advantage of these well-priced promotions. estaurant Week brings a much-needed lift to ugust revenue and is especially meaningful this year as so many restaurants have been hurting these last 1 months.” s for what s going to be offered at his restaurants, which include atsby, he rill, i Casa, i ida, and uccotash, most of which debuted ust this year, each of our restaurants takes a uni ue approach to offering seasonal additions, fun new items and crowd pleasers so that all guests have something for them during estaurant Week.” 3 0 • WA SHIN GTO N BLADE.COM • AUGUST 06, 2 0 2 1

Leontyne rice book will inspire you to embrace opera

da ling hybrid of memoir, prose, uotations, and poetry

By KATHI WOLFE ears ago, my boss, who had the flu, insisted that I use her ticket to hear avarotti give a recital at Lincoln Center. I knew nothing about opera, but was thrilled by this opportunity. fter the performance, I ended up in a receiving line to meet the famous tenor. When I shook his hand, he put me at ease about my ignorance of opera. Don t worry,” he oked, I listen to Waylon ennings.” I tell you this not to name drop, but because he onster I am oday Leontyne rice and a Life in erse” by an rancisco-based writer, poet, and musician evin immonds makes me want to do nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe opera. etween the pandemic and other problems of life, it s easy to become desensiti ed to poetry, other people s pain even beauty. s you read he onster I am oday,” immonds, who grew up lack and gay in ew rleans, will awaken your deadened senses. hrough a da ling hybrid of memoir, prose, ‘The Monster I am Today’ uotations, song lyrics and poetry, immonds By Kevin Simmonds brings rice, the first frican- merican to achieve c.2021, TriQuarterly Books international acclaim in the opera world, to life. $20 | 160 pages rice, , was born in Laurel, iss. In 1 , rice was the first lack singer to appear in an opera on when she sang the title role in osca.” he performed in ma or opera houses from the etropolitan pera to the an rancisco pera to La cala. rice has received many honors. In 1 , she was awarded the residential edal of reedom. et, though she s so renowned, even some of her most ardent fans might not know much about her life. rice, immonds says, didn t believe in talking about herself too personally or complaining about her struggles publicly. ave I talked too much,” rice says, ou know, talking a lot isn t good for a singer.” It s ironic that immonds puts this uote from rice right after one of several fictitious I files of her in the book. s immonds notes in the endnotes, the I files in the volume aren t official I files, but the content in them is factual. he fau I file notes that rice attended a production of he Dutchman” by egro agitator Leroi ones, who is married to agitator ettie ones, a ew.” he play is insolent filth and undisciplined rage toward the white race,” the file added, rice endorsed the performance from her seat in the audience by shouting, ight on ” ou can t help but wonder Does rice mean that talking too much would hurt her singing voice r is she also thinking talking too much wouldn t be good given white society s racial pre udice he onster I am oday” isn t a bio of rice. et, through taut, incisive poems and prose fragments, immonds makes her up close and personal. Dear, this wasn t no Chitlin Circuit not llas or Lenas crowd,” immonds writes in a poem in rice s voice, his was bo seats passed from one generation of anderbilts Carnegies stors and uggenheims to the ne t.” rice is the life in the title of the book. ut you soon reali e that immonds is remembering riffing on his life. rice is the monster in the sense of marvel etched in immonds D . pera, music, and high school chorus saved his life when immonds was a young ueer kid. pera Italian for a work, a labor the feminine Latin root op to work, produce in abundance,” writes immonds of his young self, eminine work of abundance that s what I sought to behold and become.” immonds studied music at anderbilt niversity and the niversity of outh Carolina. e is the author of two poetry collections, ad for eat” and end to It.” ecause onster” is structured as overture, performance, and postlude, reading it is like being at the opera. Its beauty and heartbreak will tear your heart out. he steady, anestheti ing racism of the campus police, professors and classmates poisoned and debilitated me,” immonds writes of his time at anderbilt, I thought I d lost my voice.” standing ovation for he onster I am oday.” It s a monster of a book.

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Migration patterns and what that means to the DMV Single-family homes remain popular as telework grows

I recently spent two weeks out West, in Colorado and e as. I kept hearing a similar refrain from many locals — “The Californians are coming!”— when the topic of real estate would come up. I have also heard on the ast Coast that many New Yorkers and people from bigger urban areas in the ortheast are starting to flock to warmer climates such as Florida and other parts of the outh and outhwest. ow does this affect real estate in our metro are of the D With the amount of federal government offices, universities, three ma or airports, the ort of altimore, the state capital of aryland and the Naval Academy located in the region, as well as the tech corridor of Northern Virginia, an extensive regional Metro system, the U.S. Congress, and too many law firms to count, I don’t think our region will need to worry about losing too many of its residents. There will probably be much more opportunity to telework going forward, and I am sure that in the year to come many of the universities and organi ations might be incorporating more options for a hybrid learning environment as the vaccination roll out and rate continues to slowly rise, depending on the urisdiction. What does this mean for the homeowners


WHOLISTIC SERVICES INC. is looking for dedicated individuals to work as Direct Support Professionals assisting intellectually disabled adults with behavioral & health complexities in our residential location in the District of Columbia & Maryland. Job Requirements Ability to lift up to 75 lbs. Completion of required trainings prior to hire, Completion of Trained edication Certifications and or C Certified edication echnician within months of hire, Cleared DOH background Check prior to hire, Valid Driver’s License, Valid CPR & FIrst Aid, Negative COVID-19 test results prior to start of work taken within days prior to date of hire . C ID-1 vaccination within 45 days of hire. Contact the Human Resources Department @ 202-832-8787 for information.


The growth of telework since the pandemic has prompted many to relocate to larger homes.


is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or Joseph.hudson@compass.com.


or those who want to be homeowners in the District, aryland and irginia y guess is that it is still going to continue to be a seller’s market in the single-family home market, where yards, porches, and extra bedrooms continue to be the most desired features. or first time homebuyers, the rates are still rather low, hovering around the percent rate depending on credit score. he buying power for a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom condo has increased for many first-time homebuyers over the last few years. lso, the demand for the one-bedroom or two-bedroom condo market may have decreased a little due to the pandemic, which might be creating opportunities for the first-time homebuyers to move up the chain, into a condo at a decent price, or ask for the repairs and terms that are not frequently being offered currently in the single family home market. At any rate, after the Labor Day holiday, I will be offering monthly homebuyer seminars, and free seller consultations to help buyers and sellers figure out what is the best plan of attack for them to achieve the next step of homeownership or selling their home and either leveling up or down, depending on their needs.



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Summer Activities in the DMV With places opening back up and more people getting vaccinated, I’ve curated the perfect list of fun events and activities to do this summer in the DMV. 1

Catch an outdoor movie near the waterfront. Both The Wharf BbM !BsWdbB_ BoJdo BoO pVdzKBpWbU J_dK^JtpsOo adyWOp great for all ages.


Looking to get away from the urbanscape, head over to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens for blooming water lilies and lotus. Admire the picturesque views and spot wildlife throughout the park.


4 Take a quick getaway trip to Loudoun County, Virginia’s wine country. Choose from many wineries and breweries, or even extend your stay at a nearby boutique bed and breakfast in Middleburg, VA! 5 Check out a new exhibit. Museums are continuing to reopen and welcome visitors, with new exhibits that are yearning to be seen!

Check out the summer edition of Georgetown Glow. Admire beautiful light installations and be sure to snap an Instagrammable photo while you’re at it.

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